Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Comments by rasselas.redux

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  • There are papers in media studies that tackle the problem of online spaces and dominant voices. The main concern seems to be that the louder voices wield unrepresentative power, influencing the conversation in a way that inadvertently — or intentionally — sidelines others and narrows the purview.

    And when studies rely on collating online voices from blogs and the world wide commentariat, their findings become skewed with these biases.

    Sometimes I think it would be a good idea to ration commenting. I dunno, say a maximum of ten comments per week. All across the internet. Perhaps five comments a week per website would be reasonable. That would also address the ethical problem of addictive commenting and whether a place concerned with psychosocial harmony should enable addictive compulsions.

    I don’t have any substantial quibbles about the moderation here. I didn’t fill in the survey. If I had I would have suggested rationing the louder and more pervasive voices.

    Another feature you might wish to consider is the editor’s pick. The Guardian do this. They select a few comments and place them at the top. These aren’t always the most liked comments.

  • Psychiatry survived the Rise and Fall of Nazi Germany and the Rise and Fall of the USSR. It thrives during both crisis and calm.

    Its power is extended via a mandate with the state. When the state changes, psychiatry enjoys a new mandate. New mandates in the past have included forced sterilisation, forced labour camps, clearing mine fields by walking through them, denoting political dissidence and civil disobedience as ill and pathologising it, aligning and legitimising the state’s surveillance apparatus, conducting and burying unlawful in vivo human experiments and more broadly, to explain away civil discontentedness with broad brushstroke narratives, such as the chemical imbalance hypothesis.

    Psychiatry survived all that and thus there is no reason to believe it could not survive any possible scandal or mass awakening about mass drugging and psychosocial categorising. In many ways such a scandal would be a minnow compared to say, the scandal and outcry that never was about the few known horrors of MKULTRA.

    Psychiatry has survived the countercultural revolution, two world wars, the cold war, Nazism, Communism, and is to be found, snug as a bug in a rug, in every country in the so-called top 50 best places to live in the world.

    Psychiatry is an essential tool in any democratic and non-democratic state’s armamentarium.

  • An occasional bout of flyting can be healthy.

    Whenever I’ve moved someone away from extremist thinking on here, and made a solid case for more balance, the discourse abruptly ends, or tails off into diversion, or digresses violently, or nitpicks itself into a hole.

    Anosognosia is sometimes an accurate description of someone’s state of mind or being or whatever. As you rightly say, it can also be used as a weapon. But then, what is there in life that cannot be subverted?

    Even if a concept is sometimes subverted that does not equate to the entire invalidity of that same concept.

    Anosognosia is a sometimes misused concept. Anosognosia happens.

  • You’re savvy with computers, Julie. The LIKE script is likely to be a third party add-on which you can then block with a decent blocker-app for your browser. For extremely granular control of scripts I recommend UMatrix. But there are many others. You should also be using a Cookie Manager if you aren’t already.

    Some sites are playing catchy monkey with add-ons in your browser that blocks ads, trackers and unwanted scripts. It’s your machine after all and you get the final say on what runs on it. The information industries are generally opposed to that freedom.

    In that case, look into changing your DNS provider to one that blocks many ads and trackers before they even reach your machine. These are very effective and cannot be detected in your browser.

    The LIKE button plays many roles. Clearly it also distills a lot of anxiety. One unforseen consequence is that it can become a tool of passive aggression. In that some people compulsively use it as a weapon, liking just about anything their clique post. I suppose that can perform the function of cementing associations.

    From a forsensic analysis vantage, LIKEs deepen the profile of the data subject. Algorithms can group people and machine learning enables quite accurate predictions, after a period of time.

    And I have noted before now, there is a third party behavioural analysis script that runs here, watching your every move.

    In short, if you don’t want the LIKE function to be a part of your madinamerica experience, block it.

  • danzig666 wrote: “Have you read the poem written by Zombie boy, before his death? I was thinking about it deeply.”

    I have read it, yes. It’s in the public domain so no problem reproducing it.

    THE WELL

    O Damballa
    Lo we howl upon stars hung above
    We soul cast down the well of stone
    As fire laid betwixt two fates
    Of most drear less dire straights
    Each breath cuts ice as flesh is weighed
    In front of deaths old narrow gates
    Where bold and brazen last rites crate
    Lo heed our wish of madness
    Deep from os
    Our prayers we kissed
    So stern and cold
    On metal shells
    Release by moonlight glow

    He obviously wasn’t in a good frame of mind when he wrote this. It is an exceptionally poor poem, even if we assume he wrote it knowing his decided fate. It is a terrible shame when narcissists seek fame — absolutely must have fame — but have no other talent than their actual being, and become, like ZombieBoy, a “freak” to be looked at, to cause discomfort. And that being the sum of it. I think he appeared in a LadyGaga video, and through her encouragment, did a bit of modelling work. But the novelty wears off. And no-one is much interested in the zombieboy look of Zombieboy. So zombieboy is dead as a concept. he got into the guinness book of records for having the most insect tattoos.

    Personally, if I knew him, I’d have advised him to seriously consider henna. He would then have allowed himself a future self, that could be reinvented.

    What deep thoughts did you have about his poem?

  • My main focus is on organically-grown produce. We’ve learnt this year about the benefit of allocating wild areas. It brings in new predators and gives shelter to the frogs.

    I probably will end up checking out an orthomolecular practitioner someday. It’s one of the few alternatives I haven’t yet given a run out. The nearest practitioner is about 1.5 miles away.

  • The psychology of persuasion is a very interesting area. Suggestibility, hypnotism, power, various confirmational and affirmational biases… you can learn a lot about how the mind deceives itself through exploring these areas.

  • I wish you all the best too. I’m sorry you had inner monsters and lacked strength and balance. I don’t believe that to be what is typically at the heart of mania or psychosis for most people.

    I cannot comment on “Sean’s therapy” because I only know about the holotropic breathwork, as that is widely discussed, but this “new therapy” that heals schizophrenia is not available to discuss and as you’ve pointed out, does not involve holotropic breathwork.

  • Would you be willing to make these drug statements publicly available?

    For instance I would be much better reassured to have such a drug statement as part of my advance directive. Now and again I am dragged into the you-need-antipsychotics tango. So far so good but my main professional ally has now retired, and while her presence is still felt, her influence is fading. Sadly I cannot add in the tardive akathisia and dyskinesia as no-one is even willing to assess for it.

    Come to think of it templates to cover all main drug classes would be pretty cool to make publicly available.

  • @ Sean Blackwell

    You are mistaken. I wasn’t looking for something negative to pounce on when I watched your video. I was curious to see what you were up to with regards my bipolar comrades. Kirsten asserted that you did not work with people with mental disorders using oxygen-depletion techniques. This misrepresented your presentation to Ron and another of your inner circle. So I skipped through the video again, found the relevant bits, transcribed them, and wrote them down here.

    In that sense I was positively reinforcing you. Because — contrary to what Kirstin indicated — you do invite people with serious mental disorders to deplete their bodies and brains of oxygen for significant periods of time.

    And you call that Holotropic Breathing. A term coined by Stanislav Grof who decided it would mean “moving in the direction of wholeness.” Of course, that is a rather biased definition. Although, the term is a registered trademark so may as well give it a superpositive spin, ja? Depriving the brain of oxygen for extended periods of time may just as well move a person in the direction of disintegration. And in fact, the practice was banned in Scotland precisely because the majority of people were being harmed by this quackery. Maybe many of them were being neither helped nor harmed. And it was just that Scotland wasn’t ready for its people to be screaming and writhing and shitting themselves in community halls in the name of curing severe and enduring mental illness.

    ” I could bring 100 healed clients to your home…”

    No you couldn’t. That’s pure exaggeration, rhetoric.

    “So, rest assured, if you ever want to stop me from working with someone that you know, I won’t go near them. I don’t need that kind of hassle. Of course, whoever you are trying to protect will never have an opportunity to do such deep, lasting healing like Kerstin, Moni and “Magdalena” did, but not everyone is as lucky as they were to have such supportive families.”

    That’s the hook. And it suggests to me that you do have some awareness of advertising techniques, as you often claim advertising as your background.

    It is the messianic hook. Only those that pass through you can enjoy the healings of your inner circle. Those that seek to deny you are unsupportive and against healing.

    Nope. I am against quackery. I would advise anyone against committing their time, money or faith to anyone offering them 2 weeks in Brazil shitting themselves silly and writhing around in the screaming abdabs. Simple common sense.

    For anyone whose curiosity is piqued, I’d recommend reading through these:

    Vulnerability to Quackery
    https://quackwatch.org/01QuackeryRelatedTopics/quackvul.html

    Spontaneous Remission and the Placebo Effect
    https://quackwatch.org/04ConsumerEducation/placebo.html

    Why Bogus Therapies Often Seem to Work
    https://quackwatch.org/01QuackeryRelatedTopics/altbelief.html

    This last link harbours this incisive and pertinent observation:

    “Even when no objective improvement occurs, people with a strong psychological investment in “alternative medicine” can convince themselves they have been helped. According to cognitive dissonance theory, when experiences contradict existing attitudes, feelings, or knowledge, mental distress is produced. People tend to alleviate this discord by reinterpreting (distorting) the offending information. If no relief occurs after committing time, money, and “face” to an alternate course of treatment (and perhaps to the worldview of which it is a part), internal disharmony can result. Rather than admit to themselves or to others that their efforts have been a waste, many people find some redeeming value in the treatment. Core beliefs tend to be vigorously defended by warping perception and memory. Fringe practitioners and their clients are prone to misinterpret cues and remember things as they wish they had happened. They may be selective in what they recall, overestimating their apparent successes while ignoring, downplaying, or explaining away their failures. The scientific method evolved in large part to reduce the impact of this human penchant for jumping to congenial conclusions. In addition, people normally feel obligated to reciprocate when someone does them a good turn. Since most “alternative” therapists sincerely believe they are helping, it is only natural that patients would want to please them in return. Without patients necessarily realizing it, such obligations are sufficient to inflate their perception of how much benefit they have received.”

  • Thanks for the reply, Julia.

    I absolutely endorse your work and your point of view. And these days, the food chain is so complex and somewhat compromised, it’s definitely a worthy avenue for people to explore. For instance, I’ve known and read a number of people who have all but eradicated their child’s so-called pathology through carely (and with a lot of effort) eradicating certain foods/chemicals/additives from their diets.

    What’s going to be difficult for many people are getting hold of truly organic produce. Most supermarket fruits and fruit-products are very low in vitamins and minerals. Or so I’m told.

  • Neither myself nor my partner eat processed food. Pretty much none at all. In recent years we’ve improved an already excellent diet by growing our own fruit, veg and salads. Next year we’re hoping to start off some olive trees.

    We’re both very active. She probably speed-walks now on average 50 miles per week. Following my achilles injury I’ve returned to biking, as when ridden correctly, there should be minimum strain on the achilles. I’m averaging about 100 miles per week.

    Despite this, she continues to be regularly suicidal and I continue to be as mad as a hatter.

    Results are obviously going to be better felt by people eating very poor diets and leading indolent lifestyles.

    But food and exercise kinda hits a plateua, and from that point you’re on your own. There isn’t anything an extra banana or a few more gruelling miles down bumpy canal paths is going to do for you, other than, add a little scenery or a moment of oral pleasure to your madness, which is no bad thing.

    So probably some people will be significantly helped, but most will be rudely disappointed.

  • The “safe setting” is a house in the middle of nowhere that has a medium sized swimming pool in the back. Mr Blakewell shows us a photo of this “safe setting” in his presentation.

    He doesn’t say what makes it safe, beyond the fact that he’d like to buy it one day.

    My question would be, given that holotropic breathing is conducted lying prostrate and with eyes closed, why exactly is one building considered more safe than any other?

    All I can think is that the stomach-churning horrified screaming and yelling and gurning and orgasmic panting and gargling and the vomiting, shitting and pissing might upset the neighbours who might be concerned for the wellbeing of the people inside.

    No concerned neighbours = safety?

    And for whom?

  • Kerstin wrote: “and from what I have understood, people with mental disorders are not accepted or recommended to try the holotropic breathwork techniques.”

    At 26:30 Mr Blakewell says:

    “The majority of [holotropic breathing] facilitators will not work with people with diagnosed mental disorders because they feel they don’t have the safe setting and they’re afraid that they’ll be opening up a bigger psychological process that they’re not prepared to support and so generally it’s contrary indicated (sic) … to work with people with bipolar disorder… BUT!… y’know because we have a retreat, we have a safe environment, the Bipolar clients have our complete attention… […] and so we breathe with the client almost every day of our retreat process.”

  • from: “How to Train a Woman Like a Dog”

    “OK, so some people will have their panties in a twist over the title to this article. Admittedly, it’s a bit clickbaitish, but not without good reason. How to train your woman like a dog is a title that pays homage to Karen Salmansohn’s book, “How to Make Your Man Behave in 21 Days or Less Using the Secrets of Professional Dog Trainers.” It is just one offering in an entire genre of literature that people would say is dehumanizing to men. That is, if they cared about men.

    So, if you are triggered by the title of this piece, imagine how many shits I have that I don’t give. Unless you can document your public objection to “men as dogs” literature, I don’t want to hear a thing you have to say. With that, let’s move past the sardonic introduction to this article and into what I am really saying.

    One, I am not equating women to dogs, and not just because dogs are loyal and unconditionally loving. I am actually starting with the proposition that no human beings, male or female, rise to the level of a canine in terms of worthiness. If we remember that, and don’t expect perfection from ourselves or others, it really helps avoid disappointment.”

    @ Steve McCrea

    What do you think of Karen Salmansohn’s book, “How to Make Your Man Behave in 21 Days or Less Using the Secrets of Professional Dog Trainers.” ?

  • (apologies for the off-topic aside)

    streetphotobeing wrote: “Follow the biology and you will be free of severe anxiety/insomnia and migraine to boot.”

    I am interested in a cure for severe insomnia. Even a decent remedy would be a god-send.

    Also, I have a friend who’s been on and off ssris from the beginning of their teens. They now have some kind of sleep apnea/leg kicking syndrome that wakes them up many, many times during the night. They are in a permanent state of knackerage. And this surely contributes to their emotional irritability and wotnot. Their GP dissociates whenever this problem is mentioned. Same too all other health professionals. I have established it as fact that these problems are occuring, every night of their lives. Any ideas?

    Thanks in advance.

  • Thanks for replying, Kerstin. I’m not wishing to comment directly on your personal experience. It’s good you feel good. Sincerely.

    Kerstin wrote: “Sean is not actually doing holotrophic breathwork, and from what I have understood, people with mental disorders are not accepted or recommended to try the holotrophic breathwork techniques.”

    I chanced upon Mr Blakewell some years ago, when he was uploading his BipolarOrWakingUp? to youtube. His bipolar story was different then. It was all about one of his young nieces going crazy and getting a bipolar diagnosis. Now the story is he was in hospital for four days because of a spiritual crisis.

    That aside,

    please watch the video Mr Unger posted of an interview conducted by Mr Unger with Sean uploaded 6 March 2018.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MO3_Odqq-7k

    At 19:13 Mr Blakewell says: “”Once we’re on this retreat, we’ve got the perfect space, the set and setting, what are we doing, what are we doing to liberate the trauma? First thing we-re doing — and the most important aspect — is holotropic breathwork.”

    Kerstin wrote: “..dangerous layer of existance best permanently avoided.” That sounded interesting. Do you have any views on that?”

    Yes, lots. I am very sceptical about the entire New Age/California dreaming movement. I am not sceptical about the power of hypnotism, rhythmic drumming, and altered states. Suggestibility is a powerful tool. Those put under hypnosis through techniques that starve the brain and body of oxygen become just as suggestible as people hypnotised with more mainstream methods… only the holotropic breathers are “invited” once hypnotised to lay themselves open to a deeper hypnotic state, in which they are now infiltrated by the will of an other. It is no wonder that many freak out in the feeling of being possessed by a demon or suchlike. They literally have been possessed. Their autonomy has been compromised.

  • Interesting promotional article for what are generally considered to be potentially very dangerous techniques.

    “What is happening here is that the psyche is being opened to a stratum of existence that it would not otherwise have contacted, and which is anything but benevolent. Could it be that the deviant “archetypes” experienced are not part of the individual’s unconscious but rather a dangerous layer of existence best permanently avoided?

    My primary concern in the foregoing is the damage done to the evolutionary (developmental) potential of literally thousands of trusting people, likewise to the physical health of far too many casualties in the form of serious after-effects following the use of certain techniques and practices and ranging from nervous breakdown to insanity. I am not using conjecture here; I have personally spoken with numerous damaged and disoriented individuals, a large number immediately following the Holotropic Breathwork sessions held at the Findhorn Foundation in Morayshire, Scotland in the early 1990s, some of which were initially presided over by Stanislav Grof himself. (These extreme hyperventilation sessions required the inclusion of buckets, bowls and plastic bags for the violent vomiting and loss of bladder and bowel control by the participants – and the screaming was such that the area surrounding the venue in which the sessions were held was placed out of bounds to community members and visitors alike.)

    I have also spoken with local doctors at the Health Centre in nearby Forres, who were aware of the aftermath consequences, and whose concern was such that they placed a notice in the local press dissociating themselves from what was occurring. I spoke, too, with senior officials from the Scottish Charities Office (SCO), who had previously been informed of these matters by a deeply concerned retired GP and World Health Organisation consultant at that time living in Forres – incidentally, one of the early members of the SMN who had worked for five years with George Blaker. The SCO promptly sent an interviewer to investigate further, and as a consequence commissioned a report from a top [medical] forensics Professor at the University of Edinburgh, which (due to the legalities involved) led to the suspension of all Breathwork activities sponsored by the Findhorn Foundation (see S. Castro, Hypocrisy and Dissent within the Findhorn Foundation, 1996, chapter six).”

    from here: https://www.citizeninitiative.com/against_grof_therapy.htm

  • That’s all a bit black and white for my tastes.

    And it doesn’t answer the question I posed: Should acting out in a troubling or troublesome way not be subject to some form of social control?

    Psychiatry is incapable of banning personal truth. I accept that some people give way to its narratives, against their own better judgement. Others eventually come to terms with the follies of their imaginations, and take some solace in psychiatric meanings. Often too people are able to hold contradictory explanatory narratives about their psychotic experiences, perhaps half-believing in their personal take on things, and half-believing in psychiatric interpretations… and moving in and out of different personal meanings. That sounds more human to me. More natural and more in keeping with how personal narratives and the self works… in that we, all that is inside of us and outside of us, are in constant flux.

    People are more subtle than you seem to be giving them credit for, they are way more sophisticated. At least that’s my view of people.

  • marks ps2 wrote that Eric Coates wrote: “When your problems are blamed on your brain (PSYCHOTIC), for instance, rather than taking into account an abusive childhood or, say, living in poverty and a dangerous neighborhood, all of which might be caused (as there is more abuse in impoverished environments) by the lack of work opportunities or a decent wage that are not being supplied by the capitalist corporations that control nearly our whole economy”

    I wasn’t aware that Eric Coates had an abusive childhood, was living in poverty in a dangerous neighbourhood and so on. I was under the impression he had the fortune of living in a middle class milieu?

    If what you are suggesting here is true then why are the classic psychotic conditions such as schizophrenia not more prevalent in the most harsh inner city settings of the world, such as the favellas of Brazil?

    Being jumpy and paranoid is not being psychotic. It’s being jumpy and paranoid.

    A big problem I think is that these severe states of mind have been watered down in the popular imagination. Instead of being rare events they are now part of some universal experience.

    I’m not sure what has made that happen. It wouldn’t be just one thing. Psychiatry is generally blamed for this but I don’t consider that to be the full answer.

    Here’s an example. I got talking to a small group of young men recently. One of them goes to me, quite randomly: “I’m schizophrenic. I get the schizophrenic days.”

    I asks, “O, I see. You have complex delusions and sometimes complex hallucinations and such like?”

    “No, no,” he goes, “I get the schizophrenic days. Y’know, where your mind wanders a lot and you can’t keep going at stuff, and just want to go with the flow but the flow is all over the place.”

    One of his buddies kept saying, “I can’t have this conversation. My ADD keeps kicking in.”

    Puzzled me that one.

    I like the idea that you believe, or seem to be intimating, that if adverse life events were eradicated from life then psychosis would no longer manifest.

    Why do you believe this?

  • danzig666 wrote: “Psychosis is a style of thinking/feeling which is banned…”

    Is it? I don’t think that it is. Given that’s a very specific definition.

    It’s not psychosis that is banned. It’s the troubling and troublesome acting out. Psychosis is free to rise and fall wherever and whenever it wishes. Always has and always will.

    People like me suffer through psychosis without anyone banning it (or attempting to, morelike), without any psychiatric attempt to snuff it out.

    If the drugs worked for me like they work for others I’d choose to take them, happily.

    Acting out during psychosis is where the problems begin, and you will undoubtedly start flashing on multiple radars.

    Should acting out in a troubling or troublesome way not be subject to some form of social control?

  • Just goes to show that many, many peoples’ mental problems these days are mostly if not entirely situational and relatively mild and can be overcome by abandoning pathologisation and simply remembering that life is messy and chaotic and something to be lived, sometimes in pain, sometimes in joy, mostly in mediocrity.

    Zealots on here will inevitably attempt to exploit narratives like these. They want stories like these to demonstrate that everyones’ problems are mild and situational and non-pathological.

    As a non-zealot I wish to congratulate Mr Ronco for his abandonment of pathology. Particularly because it seems clear he was never an appropriate target for it. Some peoples’ bad luck turns out to be good luck, in time.

  • Steve McCrea wrote: “I wonder how long you’d take your car to a mechanic who said your car’s engine doesn’t work because it has “repair-resistant fuel injectors?” INFURIATING!”

    It won’t be too long, Steve. People want a new kind of consumer language that protects their feelings. A car mechanic is nowadays going to tell you that your broken fuel injector is beyond repair, is utterly knackered. I don’t think people generally want to hear that kind of language about their brains. And then to be told that the only practical option is to have a transplant.

    These car metaphors don’t work though. Because the engine is the body and the brain is the person behind the wheel.

    But? Julie Greene wrote:

    “Interestingly, people are built better than cars. Cars do not have decision-making power, nor do they grow as they age, nor do they have the wisdom and insight that humans have. They don’t reason. They cannot take care of themselves.”

    Artificial intelligence is coming on apace to replace that less-than-perfect driver behind the wheel. I’m surprised you’ve taken this flawed metaphor and run on with it, given we live in the age of the emergent autonomous vehicle.

    This discussion is back to the MIA obsession with the infallible and perfect human brain that never gets knackered or becomes beyond repair. This is a widespread faith here, shored up by the sub-belief that all possible things that can go wrong with the brain are known and dealt with by neurology… everything else is a fiction or the result of psychiatric drugs. MIA’s number one scapegoat.

    In other words, if the mechanic considers the vehicle a write-off, it’s the mechanic’s fault for projecting negative feelings onto the engine.

  • “what is the problem with the model bio/psy/soc…”

    Fundamentally, it is not a model in any scientific sense. It’s a buzz-word that people such as yourself scatter around believing that to do so is some kind of act of seeding a new psychiatry into the world; whereas, despite the buzz-words, psychiatry is now more biological than any other time in its history.

    Of course, if you know something about the biopsychosocial model that actually makes it a scientific model, then please share your knowledge.

    Otherwise, if you genuinely wish to think deeper into why the biopsychosocial model is not a model you might make a start with reading here

    https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/the-british-journal-of-psychiatry/article/rise-and-fall-of-the-biopsychosocial-model/A31DAA3BED6569F6080A1DF2C1D15A64/core-reader

    or here

    https://www.academia.edu/8524492/A_Critical_Review_of_the_Biopsychosocial_Model

  • There is a humour to be found in depression. I’m making it sound simple. Perhaps because it is simple. All you have to do is allow your inner joker to breathe, and before you know it, little beads of joy will fall upon you.

    I remember only once being reduced almost to tears in one conversation with one particular psychiatrist. He was on the brink of joy too. I am sure of it. We were talking about bipolar and magnets. Attract and repel.

    It is true that in the manic phase people are drawn to me when I’m out and about. A phrase I often hear is: “I’ve never told anyone about all this before.”

    When people feel safe, they open up. I think beforehand they’ve picked up on the energy and it’s enraptured them in some way.

    It is a wonderful thing.

    It feels good to buzz off people. People start to wake up when they laugh a lot. A levity washes through them. A sparkle returns to their eyes.

    For every person there is a funny thought or an amusing story or an absurd circumstance that can break the magic spell of their unbudgeable downer.

    Everyone has the capacity for joy and laughter.

  • Thanks for writing this, Mr Discher. The horrors are not, as you write, all now echoes in longago corridors.

    I agree that psychiatric history needs to be more often told, and some sacred cows need to be reassessed. Starting at the beginning, with Kraepelin. I can understand the reluctance to revise history, especially of the Godfather of modern psychiatry. But I agree with Lehmann that any commemorative plaque should make reference to the eugenics holocaust, as it’s a vital link in the chain.

    Why not organise an alternative “commemoration” of Kraepelin?

  • The black market trade in cocaine is the drug people are mostly turning to, in ever-increasing numbers, as a fast fix involving a fast mood change. Typically within 10-15 minutes of insufflation the mood has markedly changed.

    SSRIs can’t compete with cocaine. Whether it’s speed of mood fix, lack of side effects, deaths, or attempted withdrawal drama. Cocaine is the outright winner in all categories.

    If there was a pill for everything there would be no war, no divorce lawyers, and most tantalisingly, no Love Island.

    I would like a new drug that if I took it on a regular basis it would mimic the person I would now be had I never taken psychiatric drugs.

    Drugs can transform mediocre artists into exceptional artists.

    Antipsychotics can transform exceptional artists into mundane quit-artists. I respect their nihilistic power as I respect thermonuclear weapons.

  • there is such a thing as mental illness in the sense of it being a hypothetical/metaphorical narrative that attempts to explain what mania and psychosis and depression and so on is – when the cause remains so far unknown.

    there are lots of other causes of mania and psychosis and depression and so on that are known. for instance, brain tumours, kidney failure, alcoholism…

    mania and psychosis are not invented things. they point to actual lived experiences that manifest in the world.

    i know, i know, you and oldhead insist that if science can’t examine it directly and if language can’t narrow it down with exactitude then for you it has no basis in reality whatsoever.

    which is why you must also think that love is a lie. after all, science cannot examine love directly and who invented this ridiculous word love anyway? it means different things to different people and is therefore meaningless.

    no-one is going to take you seriously if you persist with claiming that mania and psychosis don’t exist. other than other flat-earthers, of course.

  • I think you’re onto something with that definition.

    Bipolar is something embodied and manifests in situations. Or to put it even simpler, bipolar is a state of being in an environment.

    There are gregarious people that become mute and withdrawn in certain situations. There are confident actors who fall to pieces when trying to order in restaurants.

    So bipolar is simply a more extreme example of contradictory states that can come about in the same person.

    Where do the hallucinations, mixed states, anhedonia, insomnia, grandiosity and complex delusions fit in? They don’t all have obvious opposites. In fact mixed states are opposites somehow co-existing.

    What’s the extreme opposite of an hallucination? Not hallucinating? A coma?

    I don’t understand this and am backing away again.

  • Steve McCrea wrote: “Because you can easily and reliably separate people with broken legs from people who don’t have them by a simple x-ray.”

    This isn’t a convincing potrayal of modern general medicine. It deliberately ignores the functional disorders. Functional disorders such as fibromyalgia, dementia, interstitial cystitis, migraine headaches, irritable bowel syndrome and so on are untestable yet given names and treated by general medicine.

    Wikipedia wrote: “Generally, the mechanism that causes a functional disorder is unknown, poorly understood, or occasionally unimportant for treatment purposes. The brain or nerves are often believed to be involved. It is common that a person with one functional disorder will have others.”

    Steve McCrea wrote: “It’s not right to tell people that they “have depression” when they may literally have NOTHING in common with another person who “has depression” except for how they feel.”

    Isn’t that all the word depression does? The chemical imbalance narrative is something people can take or leave.

    You have a problem in your brain. Take a drug, feel better. Now that you feel better you might be more motivated to tackle the psychosocial problems fomenting your unhappiness. You may also be at risk from finding the motivation to kill yourself. This is why it is important to identify people at risk and do something socially to help them.

    I agree that not enough is done socially. As littleturtle has put it previously: there is too much biobiobio and not enough biopsychosocial.

    But must the bio be the first action to take?

    Probably not. And so there needs to be much more nuance. As discussed in the Power Threat Meaning discourse.

    One major problem of that discourse is how many will consider its recommendations as politicised. Although I don’t know how it would be possible to critique any mental health system without getting the government hot and bothered.

    Unipolar sounds like a bipolar that has had their mania amputated.

  • I hope you don’t mind me flagging the good bits.

    Chris Cole wrote: “Part of our challenge with social justice and mental health is that so many bipolar folks need to remain closeted to survive. When I was having manic episodes, I didn’t know anyone else who had ever had a single experience like mine. When I say, “I’m bipolar,” I’m acknowledging that there is something different about me neurologically that makes me more sensitive to emotional, sensory, and energetic shifts. I wholeheartedly feel that I can be bipolar, as a distinction from psychiatric disorder or illness. The discomfort of painful symptoms exists in the relationship between my neurodivergent body and a society which marginalizes difference. My disability exists primarily between bodies, in the crowded spaces of ignorance and intolerance.”

    The best place I ever found for all this was in the setting of a lovely Norwegian family, and a big old fire and mountains in every direction. On that occasion I was high despite of the high doses of Depakote (a word which conjures indigenous tribes and animal skins and obscure hallucinogenic flower-buds)… maybe the Depakote Tribe did hold me back a little, in conjunction with the warm and welcoming Norwegian family…

    It was there I truly learnt the power of the mountains and Nature’s harsh lessons awaiting. You’re never on your own in the wild, even in solitude. In the darkening woods eyes are watching you. The crow circles you, expectant.

    What magnificent wildernesses aware of you in North America. So why suffer the bright artificial lights and the artificial challenges.

    As many of the writers you allude to agree on: the challenge of Nature is within you, and you either make it mythic or a tragicomedy.

    I’m very skilled at tragicomedy. All mad people are.

  • What is the difference between bipolar and schizophrenia? A GP claimed it was insight. Bipolarites and Bipolaresses retain insight. Whereas people deemed schizophrenic don’t. Schizophrenia I’m told is the lack of insight. Similar symptoms but the loss of the insight mojo?

  • Chris Cole wrote: “I want the world to be a safer place for extreme states, states of madness, altered states of consciousness, mental health crises, and mental illness of all kinds. This is what is most important to me. If I can help it, the language used to get us there will serve as a tool toward deeper understanding and higher complexity. This is why I’m “proud,” and “mad,” ,,,”

    Can’t argue with that. Nice one. Shake hands. Can we go back to “manic depression”?

  • @ Chris Cole

    Thanks for bringing something slightly newish and less samey to the table. I have been trying to rid myself of the Bipolar label for some time now. I’d rather have a schizoaffective label. What is the difference between a scizophrenic and a bipolar? I think the only difference is that a schizophrenic embodies their delusions and a bipolar is able to step outside of them and talk about them objectively.

    I would be behind you with the idea of reclaiming the term bipolar if I didn’t know that the term was coined by an ex-Nazi psychiatrist who undoubtedly sent many of our German brothers an sisters to their untimely deaths.

    Dr Karl Leonard.

    He then went on to work for the East German Stasi. I expect the process of moving from being a Nazi psychiatrist to a Stasi psychiatrist was relatively seamless.

    Bipolaren Affective Storung.

  • Flabberghasts me when you write about “bipolar” this way, given that it’s the sexiest and most on-trend label of them all. It is the high-end label. The haute couture of the psychiatric world (Bipolar 2 is like when people wear cheap t-shirts with designer labels printed on them).

    I think the problem is that these exclusive labels have become way too common.

    What do you mean, Bipolar? Is that Bipolar First Class or Bipolar Standard Class?

    The most horrifying experience is the mixed state. High and low at the same time. Spooky.

    Borderline Personality Disorder is the most socially mangling label. But then is it just the label that causes the social mangling, or is it the actual behaviour that the label attempts to categorise?

    I have had many of what some people describe as spiritual or supernatural experiences and they aren’t something I’d recommend or look forward to. I have encountered a few people online that reckon they have broken through to a higher state of consciousness because of bipolar. And yet their metaphors are staid and cliched. Maybe that is some unspoken truth about the Higher Levels? They are utterly devoid of creative spark and originality? The Higher Levels are where people become acutely in balance with their inner tedium?

    Other humans beings can have a stimulant effect. And bipolarites and bipolaresses must avoid stimulants at all costs. I think this is why so many bipolar self-declared geniuses end up in the theatre.

    Audience – check
    Centre of attention – check
    Be someone else – check
    Clearly demarcated beginning, middle and end – check
    Ability to disappear under the guise of one’s authentic bewildered self – check
    Still lonely in a crowd – check

    O darling, that’s absolutely lovely, ‘int it an’ all?

  • Got me thinking. I did push to have a brain scan. Got all the way to sitting in a room with a neurologist and a nurse and gently they took turns pricking my conscience: “We have long waiting lists”; “There are very sick children.”; “Even if you are brain damaged there isn’t anything we can do about it.”

    So I gave in.

    I mentioned it again to a new psychiatric nurse I got allocated. He was a top bloke, was open to progressive ideas. But I kept missing appointments, unintentionally. And so a lost opportunity as he said he would back me up for a brain scan.

    But now I see the everyone was half-right. It’s not a brain scan looking for brain damage I need; it’s a thorough neurological examination. But like you say, even a neurologist can miss things. It takes a lot of work. I just can’t see the NHS Trust approving such an investigation. Especially as it could conclude with no known condition found.

    But that list you make of the many factors that can cause psychosis and mania. There must be many more unknowns.

    Thanks again for boosting my thinking around all this. I suppose your perspective is Is Psychosis a Natural Neurological Disorder?

    It would be quite devastating to discover I had a treatable neurological disorder this late in my life. But I wouldn’t be complaining if it was treatable!

  • If it was a severe psychosis it would more often than not overcome you so intensely and rapidly you would be negotiating it with an impaired ability to rationalise, as you would be now rationalising within a severe psychosis.

    A lot of the time it is concerned others who sound the alarm and seek help. In that instance a thorough physical assessment would be the best first approach at nailing things down.

    But you have never suffered a severe psychosis so a little bit of naivete is inevitable.

  • And to clarify, I’d choose (c), and if no known physical cause could be found, I’d choose (a), and if they were unable to help, or I found their approach unhelpful, I’d choose (b) but only if it opened the doors to (d) other, which would be ongoing psychosocial support in the community.

  • Here, it can often seem like psychosis is only something which happens in fluffyland. But I support the thrust of your intention which is to have a thorough physical assessment for people experiencing severe psychosis as it can indicate a known and testable physical cause. Rather than, in the case of a functional psychosis, something as yet unknown and physically untestable.

    But yes I do agree that severe psychosis should be taken seriously. I know from personal experience what it is like and there are definitely dangers which are best socially managed, rather than individualistically.

    And it is sensible and humane to discount all known physical causes of psychosis before psychiatric diagnosing.

    So, in an ideal world, I’d choose (c)

    (just to add, in the talk linked to in Steve Morgan’s article, he explains that violence is prohibited by the Soteria model, so the most difficult and challenging individuals would be turned away and/or rejected)

  • Which holds true for pretty much all subjective experience and thus, I expect, you are against any nouns which categorise a diverse range of human experiences which share common factors…

    Let’s start with one, that neatly fits that description.

    Dreams.

    I take it you are opposed to “dreams” and “dreaming” for the reasons you have given?

    I could go on but really you’re so determined to censor the language that your logic is often falling over the cliff.

    Oops, I used a metaphor. I hope that isn’t triggering 😉

  • Thanks for clarifying your conjecture.

    You believe that very few people would choose to take psychiatric drugs to ease their difficulties if a psychiatric diagnosis wasn’t attached to them. In that fantasy scenario, in which all the stigma of a psychiatric diagnosis is removed, surely there is probably a greater chance that more people would take psychiatric drugs to ease their problems?

    The closest analogy I can muster to your idea is what happened in the UK following the upgrading of cannabis from a Class C illicit substance to a Class B. Illicit use went up. Previously, when moved the other way, from a Class B to a Class C, use went down. Perhaps the more forbidden something is, the more people want it?

    Gross oversimplification but that’s the way of drug discourse these days.

    “I simply object to the psychiatric profession defining your reality for you”

    They don’t and never did. They offered a perspective and I rejected it. Ironically after 20 years of being off the drugs I’m more open to their perspective than when resisting it. Although would rather join the Aghori and adopt their diet than swallow an antipsychotic ever again.

    I agree with you that force is wrong.

    But people that take the psychiatric drugs aren’t by and large fools who need “waking up” by the likes of you and I. Granted, some people need to be exposed to other points of view, including antipsychiatric
    points of view.

    If only that they can be sure that their decisions are based on a broad sweep of opinions.

    Although I can’t foresee antipsychiatry ever gaining a foothold or making much of a dent in the zeitgeist. There is a struggle going on amongst all disabled people to gain and retain their full human rights and antipsychiatry, at least what I’ve witnessed of it on here, seems to play the role of a huge spanner in the works of that struggle.

  • There isn’t a category for extreme pedanticism, but maybe there should be…

    ““It” is a meaningless term describing a non-existent category, not a real thing which has simply been “misunderstood.””

    Clearly not a person that has ever experienced psychosis.

  • Also in India, there is a sect called the Aghori who believe that things which normally repulse are also of God’s world, and so they regularly cover their bodies in human and animal faeces, are often to be seen eating human and animal faeces, and are not unknown for fishing out a floating human corpse from the Ganges and eating it.

    O those enlightened Aghori!

  • @kindredspirit

    I haven’t claimed to have a mental illness. I’ve put forward the idea that in all probability my problems stem from a functional disorder of the brain. In fact, before mental illness became a cultural trope, the more humble notion of functional disorder held sway. That doesn’t mean it wasn’t also beset with problems. The mad culture will always be beset with problems. The massive explosion in mental illness is a completely different discussion. The massive explosion in psychiatric drugging is also a completely different discussion.

    I am not attacking “[making] space for those in pain and those experiencing realities differently.” I’ve involved myself in doing just that in my local area with some measure of success, considering how conservative it is. I haven’t taken psychiatric drugs for 20 years. I point people to thinkers and ideas outside of the mainstream whenever the opportunity arises.

    But what I wouldn’t do is tell them that they do not have a functional disorder of the brain, or even that they do. What I would say to them is that, if they measure the probabilities, they might find, like I have, that the probability points to a compelling likelihood that they have. Just as I wouldn’t play armchair expert with other people that have been recognised as suffering functional disorders, such as ME, fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome, and dementia.

    I’m sorry that you think the gastrointestinal system of the human race is permanently knackered. As a way of possible solace, try and think about how people are now living much longer and enjoying much better quality of lives compared to say 200 years ago when their guts were in supposedly perfect bacteriological shape.

    I think psychiatry needs to tighten its belt, rip up the DSM, and start over. The problem is that would entail it having to reduce its power, relevance, and financial clout.

    My only objection is extremism. So little is known or understood about the brain that to make an extremist claim either way is, to me, unacceptable. But the fact that schizophrenia rears itself over and over again, among the rich and the poor, among the old and the young, among those who have suffered terrible trauma, and those that haven’t, among those that have an education and those that don’t… indicates to me that, at least some of the time, with those who are diagnosed as such, something functional (or structural) within the brain itself is giving rise to the suffering.

    Schizophrenia, Bipolar 1 were never voted in to the DSM. They pre-dated it.

    I don’t berate alternative approaches to madness. Although snake oil is snake oil, and a con is a con. In actual fact my own approach to suffering numerous psychoses has been to largely forego psychiatric drugs for nearly two decades. But even though I have been able to do that, sometimes alone, sometimes with support, the psychoses go on, the problems and the suffering go on, and for a long time I believed that the very small number of people who pushed the idea that all mental illness was a myth, were onto something. And that all I had to do was change my diet, my social life, or my dreams, and that I could effect a cure. After many decades of trying almost everything these people recommend, I am still in a situation of experiencing regular psychosis, mania, mood problems, anhedonia and so on and so forth, which are impacting, life-limiting and make absolutely no sense whatsoever.

    Of course, the brain and the mind being what they are, it is possible to elicit meaning out of otherwise random and disparate experiences. You only have to stare at the clouds for a few minutes and soon enough you’ll start spotting things. Now that you’ve spotted an enormous flying elephant in the sky, there is an enormous flying elephant in the sky?

  • @ Steve

    Having an hallucination is not thinking or acting. You can think about it, or react to it. But it isn’t so much a problem of who you are as a person, but more a problem of what happens to you as a person when you hallucinate. Or even not that. It can be simply having hallucinations is problematic.

    Above you wrote: “I really believe that if pseudo-scientific labeling were eliminated, very few people would want these drugs.”

    I was reacting to that missive. On reflection I shouldn’t have bothered. I can see now you were simply indulging a fantasy.

  • I just wanted to let you know that I enjoyed your talk. It was bonkers in a rather brilliant way and I wish you the best in your endeavours at Soteria. Standard approaches to madness are often stifling, mundane, and utterly lack elements of fun and frivolity: they try and take the madness out of madness. As you admit in the Q&A, there is no evidence-base for Soteria that persuasively indicates it matches or betters the traditional approaches, but I agree that people should be given a chance to make it through without kneejerk reactions to snuff it out. And there is something to be said for people that are willing and able to make some sense out of their experiences, and they should be given the opportunity to do so.

    When you were talking about forest fires and their rejuvinative power I got to thinking about nuclear bombs. Nuclear bombs are also natural. Perhaps President Trump is right in his belief that it is pointless having nuclear bombs if they are never used. Perhaps the time will soon come when the rejuvinating fires of Armageddon will sweep through the world, offering it a new beginning.

    Best wishes and please reconsider recreational fishing. It is torturing the poor little (and not so little) fishes.

    Sincere best wishes and thanks for the stimulating talk. It was far more accessible than the essay you wrote and you make a lot of sense. I believe consciousness itself came about in large part because of hallucinogen consumption. And in some ways, a person describing a dream or an hallucinogen-induced vision or a psychotic vision or a religious revelrie would be indistinguishable from one another in the telling.

    All in all, you’ve acquired a fan. Thanks for refreshing my mind a bit.

  • I’ve just come through a hypomania, in which I pushed my body too far again, and have injured both of the achilles tendons to such a degree that I am unable to walk. I was under strict orders to slow down and rest about a month ago, and I could not abide, and I kept going on through the pain, kept forgetting why I had to stop, that I was seriously injured. Now I can barely walk a few paces. We’ve had to buy in a wheelchair. I’ve had one trip out in it, and the whole time I was thinking how dreadful it must be to be permanently physically disabled, as all the dropped kerbs around here are dangerous, and unsuited to wheelchairs. On that one outing I nearly toppled over 8 times.

    During all this I’ve had terrible problems with sleep. I’ve been struggling against the belief that there is a conspiracy to have me murdered. I’ve suspected my partner has been poisoning me. I’ve struggled with basic hygiene. If I was alone I’d have forgotten to eat and drink. And now, two days ago, I suddenly felt emptied of all zest. And I am troubled again with suicidal thoughts. I’ve had the police around to do a welfare check after I made a few irate phone calls, threatening to make citizen’s arrests. I believe there are cameras in my home. And again I’m believing I am subject to some kind of secret experiment to determine the effectiveness of devastating weapons.

    I say all that because I know of many people who suffer similarly, and they choose to take psychiatric drugs. They make this choice rationally and considerately, and for them, the pain and suffering of masochistically scraping through it all, their soul on its knees, is just too much for them.

    I’m a masochist and I prefer not to take the drugs. Not taking the drugs has its upsides and its downsides. The downsides are that I have to withdraw mostly from people, I have to fundamentally limit my interactions, because it is too overwhelming.

    Psychiatrists do not know much about the brain, I agree. But neither do you. What they do know is that people suffer, and that suffering is akin to an illness. It has a devastating impact on a person’s life. And they give it a name.

    You will not rid me from this planet. I will go when it is time to go. You want to shrug my dire experiences away, the experiences of all my comrades whose lives are similarly devastated. And I believe you think this affords you some kind of intellectual or moral advantage.

    Therapists turn people like me away, typically. They turn us away because they cannot make head nor tail of what is happening to us. But something is definitely going on. It is, in all probability, a functional disorder of the brain. And your prejudices against us only add insult to injury.

    Good for you that you don’t toil this way. Probably never have, probably never will. Good for you. But who are you in all this? By what authority do you rise above our suffering and snide it away, like it’s nothing, an invention, that if psychiatry didn’t name it, it would make it less impacting.

    What kind of magician are you?

  • “if meritocracy were real — that is, if hard work was recognized and compensated proportionally — the wealthiest people in the world would be women in sub-Saharan Africa who haul water for their families eight hours a day).”

    Then, after becoming the wealthiest people in the world as a reward for hauling water on their backs over long distances, they would cease hauling water on their backs for long distances, and invest their wealth in pipelines. They would then be undeserving of their wealth, and so in order to regain it, would destroy the pipelines and start over hauling water on their backs for long distances. Bringing them great wealth once more. And so again, they’d construct pipelines, and the loop would go on, indefinitely. That is, until a bright madman appeared like the ghost of Lawrence of Arabia, and he’d sit them all down — obviously manspreading — and he’d explain to them that a meritocracy necessarily exists in a vacuum. And that the reason they must go on lugging water on their backs over long distances, every day of their lives, was to ensure that specific meritocracies were able to go on elsewhere.

    In answer to your closing question: What have we become?

    The short answer is, our true human nature is nihilism. In fact, all successful living things, given the right conditions, become nihilistic.

    Sometimes suicide is weak. Sometimes it is strong. Sometimes suicide is cowardly, sometimes it is brave. Sometimes suicide is selfish, sometimes it is selfless. Often it is a messy mix of contradictions. Sometimes we assume suicide when it was never actually suicide, problem being the suicided is not available to put us right.

    To demand that we only ever view suicide as strong, brave and selfless is to demand that we adopt a blinkered delusion. A more sensible approach is to take each suicided or suicidal person as they come, and don’t jump to rash, positivising conclusions.

  • “Had MILITARY POWER not have defeated Nazi Germany, the whole world would just be glossing over and/or rationalizing or denying stuff like the holocaust and eugenics. It’s the way people work. As long as something is approved by the authorities in our society, it will continue to be and anyone against it is a wackjob.”

    Very, very canny observation.

  • If someone has taken on the disturbances of their disturbed family, they are not the least disturbed, they are the most disturbed. It is upon relinquishing themselves through selfhood, away from the family, aka individuation, that they stand any hope of breaking those spells. Some spells, it is true, are broken simply through absence. However, as you know, a person’s presence can be strongly felt, or even felt more strongly, in their absence, and such that magic can be performed as group ritual and through spellbinding. And every sect chases its escaped pharmakoi. In their ritualised rule-set the pharmakoi is the forbidden seed and the forbidden seed-bed. It must not be let loose.

    The lifelong mark of Cain, he that took a Neanderthalis for a bride.

    Laing suggested the scapegoat/pharmakoi was the least disturbed. In others words they were the totemic conduit of a broader hope. And so a wider eye should be cast upon a social situation whenever madness is encountered. That especially in young people, there is an intentional drama, or spellbinding, . And it takes some mettle to confront it with an eye for postfreudian social dynamics. And in looking anywhere for intentionality you’ll also find conflictual postfreudian/existential/zen narratives. Pick ‘n mix. And it’s getting to the bottom of the assorted mayhem that can form a redemptive hand to guide a person away from spellbound bewilderment aka psychosis. Laing then was a magician, interpreter and inducer of waking daydreams, and in his zeal he sought out ever-greater spells to perform on people — alike Aleister Crowley’s Boleskine Bay cottage performances at Loch Ness — and so inevitably the LSD, and the gallons of whiskey, and the intensity of his confusion, and his alluring narcissism aka hypnotism. And now that London house is a sacred place. It has monks and pilgrims, and stories of the magician, whose presence fails in his absence.

  • @ binra

    Thanks for taking the time to reply. I had to work hard to try and understand you but the effort paid off.

    Surely the act of going to source would be “sourcing” and the person that did it would be a “sourcer”?

    People do find answers in conducting supernatural rituals or forming supernatural interpretations of their subjectivity as so long, as you suggest, these pursuits and frameworks lead ultimately to love then I have no objection. Personally I’m able to accommodate mystery, the unknown, which for me works in the sense of what might be thought of as supernatural experiences by some I think of as glitches. That somehow the dreamscape is leaking into waking life. Where we and others, even Dr Kelmenson, would agree, is that there can be something to learn from that glitch. So at least we have some common ground, even if what we would draw from such learning are miles apart.

    Although contemplating someone elses’ psychosis is like attempting to contemplate an abstract expressionist painting that you haven’t seen and which this other person has seen some time ago and they’re describing it to you verbally from memory. One day there will be quantum organic brain enhancement packs that slot into a universal port in the brain stem, and psychosis will be gameified.

    Imagine how much would be lost if Pollock’s No.5, 1948 was only available to us via a text or word of mouth. Similarly dream-recall narratives are flawed in many ways. The point about an hallucination is that something reveals itself to one person and no-one else is able to see it. They continue to not be able to see it when the person that saw it — or experienced it — attempts to describe it to them. Now they are imagining themselves into themselves driven by the imagery induced by the narrator of an hallucinatory experience.

    All that to me is what magic is, and what sorcery is. Suggestive and to some degree hypnotic. Some magic is needed to hold societies together. When the magic fails things fall apart. For some, breaking bad spells or renewing failing ones becomes the whole reason for their existence.

    I think you are bang on about the ritual cleansing through the pharmakoi.

  • “The atrocious system of poisoning by poisons so slow in their operation as to make the victim appear, to ordinary observers, as if dying from a gradual decay of nature, has been practised in all ages. […] Early in the sixteenth century the crime seems to have gradually increased, till in the seventeenth it spread over Europe like a pestilence. It was often exercised by pretended witches and sorcerers, and finally became a branch of education amongst all who laid any claim to magical and supernatural arts. In the twenty-first year of Henry VIII. an act was passed rendering it high treason. Those found guilty of it were to be boiled to death.”

    from The Slow Poisoners in Memoirs of Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds

  • I want to be honest too. I want to speak for me and my silenced brothers and sisters. And I want to be respected for it. This is what passed through my mind:

    “You [beep] [beep].” “You clueless [beep].” “You [beep] evil [beep].”

    In dismissing the torture of akathisia, you are all of those [beep] things. It’s as plain and as simple as that. If you can look upon the torture of another human being, and either not see it, or refuse to see it, you are a [beep], clueless, evil [beep] [beep]. And that is all there is to say.

    When I was being tortured, I wanted to ring the police. Hey, I wanted to tell them, I’m being tortured. I’m being abused. I’m being driven to suicide.

    There is no-one to ring. There is no-one to appeal to. So you either kill yourself or you endure it. You endure it, and if you can, you’re a mighty person. You’re a rock. And the people that are torturing you, they stand behind the mighty power of the state, the quivering, cowardly [beep]. They stand there, behind the might of the state, and they play big. They play strong. They play mighty.

    Those cowardly [beep] [beep]. Those snivelling, quivering, pathetic [beep] [beep] [beep].

    I’m non-violent. And when I was being tortured, I wanted to retaliate. But they’d taken that away from me too. The ability to defend myself. It took all my strength just to get out of bed, sloven down the stairs, and lay down on the sofa, riddled with discomfort, unrelenting discomfort, my entire sense of being under attack. Every second of the waking day. O how I would long for sleep. Sleep!

    I am mighty. I am strong. I endured your torture. I made it through. And I am here to testify. And I live for the day that a court is called. And people will gather and make their testimony known.

  • Thanks, Julie, for confirming how sometimes, I would suggest rarely, personal motivations to opt out from life does happen. That people do fake problems in order to access a so-called “easy life”. But please don’t tarnish those of us for whom that accustation of fraudulent motivations does not stand. It’s bad enough, it really is, living a delimited life, full of discrimination and shame and lost hope. And being subjected to misplaced moral indignation.

    Here is exampled another of psychiatry’s ways of success: rationalise away the drug-induced damages to the brain. Blame it squarely on characterological impairments. If you have never suffered the torture that is akathisia, you really are utterly clueless. When you’re pacing and full of whole-being discomfort, you’re grinned at, dismissed, poo-poohed. Please don’t join in with this; please don’t encourage the good doctor to smirk it all away.

    “I was only talking about akathisia…”

    Yes, dyskinesia is bothersome, isn’t it. So palpable and impossible, finally, to brush under the carpet.

    Please don’t encourage the good doctor to brush akathisia under the carpet. It’s just so wrong. So, so wrong.

    And yes, for some unfortunate souls, and I’m one of them, the akathisia is lifelong and incorrectable. Not as intense as when the drugs are flowing through the veins, but an additional disablement, all the same.

    And so easy to tick-box away as syndromal of… just about anything really. So easy to huff at, and brush aside.

    There was a “me” before the antipsychotics, and there was a “me” after. I had problems of mood, psychosis, sleep and so on before, and I had those problems after.

    But what I didn’t have, and had never experienced before, was akathisia. No, I don’t think I will ever experience the intensity of it and for so long again. Eleven months. Eleven long, long months and as I say, if you have never experienced severe akathisa induced by an antipsychotic medication, you are utterly clueless.

    It’s why I wrote a radio play about it. And no-one will touch that play. Because a culture of disbelief has been established by the “experts”. Although the drama of the play, as a kind of revenge-fantasy against a psychiatrist, doesn’t meet the approval of the average clueless person. It’s all in all quite a good play. It has some good dialogue. But it’s when the akathisia kicks in, and the psychiatrist is pleading for it to end, that the drama really hits home.

    But as I say. Write these toxic opinion-pieces, grin away human suffering induced by psychiatric drugs, do that until the cows come home. But there are enough of us out here, in the real world, who know. We know. We know what you are doing too. We know how people get a kick out of it. We know who you are. And if there is a God, he knows too. And one day there will perhaps be a Judgement.

    Or maybe nothing will happen. And blinkered fools will go on doing what they do. And other clueless fools will buzz around them, clueless moths around an invidious flame.

  • Sarcasm or not…

    I am treated like a human being by mental health professionals. I’m listened to and I’m respected and when I ask for help I get help, within the limitations of what the services can offer, and my perspective is given credence. This has been the case for a long, long time. Okay, I very rarely ask for help and try as much as possible to go it alone. When I do need help, understandably, people that don’t know me too well, are a somewhat flustered by my refusal of drugs, for the most part, and then somewhat amiss about what to do. They would do more if they could. As things stand almost all services are designed and planned around drugs. It is unfair and unrepresentaive to dehumanise all professionals. And it’s no wonder many of them are turned off from thinking about new ways and new approaches when they are confronted by toxic attitudes.

    The middle way. How many wise men (and women) have called for the middle way? It is the ground upon which the promise of change and reconciliation occurs. Taking pot shots (even if they are sniggered away under the trojan horse of sarcasm) from either side is war-mongering, and reveals no sincere motivation for change.

  • As Frank Black once sang, rather gloriously, if you ask me, “Where is my mind?”.

    Straightforward answer is: no-where.

    Most sighted people when asked to locate the mind tentatively suggest it’s somewhere behind the eyes. It feels like it’s located there. Blind people were asked the same question and they predominantly locate it somewhere just in front of the eyes.

    There are some quite exotic replies too. Which I find intriguing. Perhaps the most bizarre is that the mind is located at the edges of the universe, and gets transmitted to the brain via (insert some bastardisation of quantum physics here). They say that the mind is immutable and perfect. All problems of the mind are problems of the brain only so far as a television set goes on the blink and does not pick up the signal correctly. This idea can be comforting or compelling to some people: go deeper with them and you’ll find out why.

    So there is a reverence for the brain. That gloopy, gelatinous deep-sea mutineer is, somehow, impeccable and perfect. What a peculiar and altogether unanticipated idolatory!

    I don’t think the premise of psychiatric inquiry is entirely wrong. Errors of processing in the brain result in various forms of bewilderment and suffering. I object to certainty. We know so little about the brain and how it manifests the mind, and then how the mind and the brain interact, that all hypotheses are crude and not developed enough to inform medical intervention.

    So, being logical and rational creatures, we’ve opted in ever greater numbers for medical interventions. An idiom for this is: shooting in the dark.

    Minds do not manifest without brains. And there are key developmental stages of the brain that if not reached, are pretty much lost forever. Most are agreeable to those facts.

    There are people that claim that minds don’t need brains. When people do that, a good response is to ask them to demonstrate it. I did this once and I kid ye not, they closed their eyes for a few seconds, and opened them, and said, “There. I did what you asked.” Impressive.

    There is a thing which we call “mental illness”. We could call it something else. We could call it “functional disorder” or “unknown processing deficit” or “developmental milestone impairment” or “redundant pattern-making bug” or “imagination leak” or “REM-sleep malfunction”. Point being that there is a “thing” only we know so little about it that naming it is controversial, if not, as we are seeing, downright catastrophic.

    I say, downright catastrophic, but then that’s a matter of personal taste. After Mengele et al the West formulated a new mandate: no more in vivo experimentation on human beings beyond a certain point of voluntary particpation. A new ethics.

    However

    To get around this we have the psychiatric industry. Mad people have long been the guinea pigs of science. So too minorities. So too orphans. How to advance technologies and understandings of the brain without meddling with the brain? In some ways, psychiatry is the front of what would otherwise be unlawful human experimentation programmes. This is moving now into interesting areas. For instance, the targeted individual community. Amongst their claims are that new technologies are being aimed upon them and causing them great suffering and impairment. If they go to a psychiatrist they will invariably be considered delusional and then labeled and shooed away. Thus, the experiment is vanished with ease. Of course, how many of them are delusional and how many aren’t? It’s impossible to distinguish and so you have the perfect invisible weapon.

    Or, possibly, only a very few are actually targeted and the rest are caught up in group hysteria. But again, you have the perfect invisible weapon. And it’s been arrived at via subversion of the new ethics.

    So psychiatry performs many social functions and that is one of them. To cover up unlawful in vivo experiments. Don’t believe me? Research MKULTRA, the Kelloggs family and radioactive orphans, and the Tuskagee Syphilis Experiment. God knows what else was successfully buried and remains unknown.

  • I don’t know how it works in the usa / many of the people that end up in broadmooor in the uk would be shot to death in your country as police attempted apprehending them / apparently according to some it is okay to force bullets into peoples bodies but not to force drugs into their bodies / i may have that wrong and apologise in advance / that is a cultural problem

    if you were for instance cutting peoples heads off because of a severe and unbudgeable psychosis i would expect that you were treated compassionately / that would include you being offered the insanity defence / i would then condone you being placed somewhere against your will and offered rehabilitation / free breakfast lunch and dinner / access to some television and as much bum sitting as you wanted / i have not spent any time in a top level forensic unit / i say that to underline the fact that any pontifications i make about these areas are from a naive and purely hypothetical point of view / if you posed a danger to patients and staff then in my ideal world you would be tranquilised with opium and ketamine and other sedating agents / id force you to take ecstacy and laughing gas / yes that is appalling to some people / im afraid that in that context i would condone forced drugging against your will / in my ideal world antipsychotics are banned / i concede that is entirely motivated by personal experience and rejecting the testimony of people claiming benefit from them / on that issue im being a bit of a [beep] / i keep my gob shut about it in the real world / online everyone has massive balls / myself included / that is an internet problem

    drugs dont help people become morally upright / actually scratch that empathogens can help some people reconnect with or grow a moral conscience / there are obscure studies proving this / okay studies in the human sciences dont often prove anything / however some are helped out of psychosis by psychiatric drugs and that can help them overcome their compromised conscience especially if combined with therapy / so ive read / that is a knowledge problem

    i am not in favour of forcibly drugging people that have committed no crime / i am torn about forcibly drugging people that have committed the most heinous of crimes once rehabilitation is achieved / seems to me a ticking bomb given that they will now be prone to possible intense relapses should they cease the drugs / i simply dont know enough about this darker side of things to make absolute comments / neither do you / quite possibly neither does anyone / that doesnt stop all and sundry writing about this area as if from expertise / that is an internet problem

    i do not refuse to take psychiatric medication / i dont have an allocated psychiatrist and am not prescribed any / i am therefore unable to refuse that which is not offered / i forgive you for being presumptious / that is an internet problem

    actually in my ideal world the prison system and the psychiatric hospital system would be dismantled and some new model of rehabilitation would be formulated / along the lines of the norwegian christian-ethic prison system / to lesser or greater extents our non-scandinavian cultures are baying for blood / we are driven by the need to humiliate and avenge / it is unlikely wed go all in on a christian-ethic rehabilitation model / the anti-christian death penalty being a significant hurdle to progress / that is a moral problem

    i do not extol the virtues of psychiatric drugs / i realistically and grudgingly accept that some people are helped by them some of the time / i was once like you and projected my personal experiences onto the whole shit-show / eventually I evened my thinking out / that is a bias problem

    if you arent helped by drugs then no-one has the right to force you / actually they have given themselves the right to force you / dont give them a reason to force you and then they cant force you / easier said than done / that is a survivor problem

    you are now in the very difficult position of learning ways of dealing with your symptoms / if you are symptom-free then go forth and seize the day / if you arent symptom-free then blaming psychiatry for all of your problems is going to seriously hold you back in life / i know that from personal experience / that is a survivor problem

    it takes a long time for the brain to heal / it will not fully heal / dead brain cells do not grow back / there are numbskulls that say you can grow the brain back / neurologists know what they are talking about / that is a brain problem

  • Don’t worry about it. I’m thick-skinned.

    As for regaining a life, I’m not really one to advise. I have never regained normality and long ago abandoned any hope of it.

    If you are lonely that’s good. Your being is making you feel uncomfortable and driving you to do something about it. Of course, one possible outcome is masochism, in which you simply dwell in pain and find some way to adapt to it. Or numb it.

    If you want human connection go to where the humans go. If you are afraid of being judged over your past take solace in that the majority of people also have insecurities. If they don’t, they are more likely to be narcissists and thus best avoided.

    Just trust your gut and be humorous. Everyone loves humour. (that isn’t entirely true I know but it sounds positive and motivating)

  • @Rachel

    Off since August 31, 2017. My taper began in March, 2016. Effexor took over a year. I went cold turkey off Lamictal after only 13 days of taking it. Abilify took 10 weeks to quit.

    […]

    That’s quite an achievement. But too soon to be talking symptom-free. I wrongly assumed you’d been off much longer. I apologise.

    I have been off antipsychotics for nearly 20 years. Everything else official for about 10. I used black market benzo-variants for sleep for a while, off and on, following a vicious street assault. when the law in the uk changed, i stopped getting them. i weened myself off them very rapidly. it was painful but id rather get things done.

    i have lost count of the number of psychoses and manias I’ve gone through in the last 20 years. I have periods of relative calm. but they dont last long. it is occasionally suggested to me that im a masochist. maybe they are right.

    if you think the drugs caused mania i am inclined to agree. ive seen it happen to people a number of times. unfortunately i get psychosis and mania quite frequently. i am a rational sceptic. i dont use drugs. i dont cause a fuss. largely i suffer alone and in silence. it puzzles me how people are able to get to a point of being symptom-free. but i suspect they never suffered in quite the same way as i do. i mean, they had some actual problem they could address. i dont seem to have a problem that can be addressed.

    i wish you luck for the coming years.

  • @ Frank

    ” don’t think the problem is psychiatry, I think the problem is psychiatric power, and the abuse of that power. I think the solution lays in taking that power away. I say abolish forced (mis)treatment (coercion and human rights violations), and I mean it. I don’t say abolish psychiatry because I don’t equate psychiatry with forced (mis)treatment. If I did, my position would be different. I am antipsychiatry regardless. Promoting psychiatry is not something I ever intend to do. I will resist psychiatry until the end. I’m not attracted to “mental health” torture, and for some time now, I have not been receiving any. The difference between you and me is that you think zero psychiatrists would mean no forced torture, and I know better. The problem is not, again, psychiatrists, the problem is the torture. End the torture (and with it the power disparity that excuses and permits it), and a psychiatrist is merely another man or woman, the same as any other. I think if you don’t deal with these matters, even with the abolition of that profession, we will merely have changed the wording, and the tortures will persist as they have for the last few hundred years. I can live with psychiatrists, I just can’t live with the “mental health” tortures.”

    Thanks for articulating this so lucidly.

  • “I’m sorry I didn’t respond to you before. I try to answer all questions, but some slip by me (or was it unconsciously motivated?). I am glad you analyze/question me and think for yourself; I don’t think any authority figures can be trusted. For example, isn’t it possible that those who invented new, unverified, subjective “brain diseases” like “tardive akithisias” are riding the coattails of psychiatry by similarly telling people what they want to hear and condoning regression?”

    In my experience, and the experience of others, tardive akathisia is not something that any health professional is willing to diagnose; most have never heard of it, let alone been trained in how to spot it. It’s often more obvious and macabre cousin, tardive dyskinesia, is also less likely to be diagnosed. It’s generally kept institutionally hush-hush. Like you they prefer to rationalise it away, or pathologise, or anything else, a character flaw even, a slack attitude, or out and out tomfoolery, rather than a manifestation of permanent brain damage. I’ve never sought a diagnosis for tardive akathisia or dyskinesia, or any recompence or redress; I’ve put two and two together and worked it out for myself.

    As I’ve written before, as a general rule, the closer someone is to participating in the drugging, the less likely they are to see the damage, or admit to it. Some professionals have, in confidence, opened up to me about it: you were right to resist further drugging; I’ve seen what it does to people… Do you really think they’d be standing shoulder to shoulder with me if I attempted to make a fuss?

    As an aside, do you think Dr David Healy’s Side Effect project (https://rxisk.org/) is a waste of time, and that problems people complain about, such as permanent sexual dysfunction, are simply them being childish and non-adapting to adult life?
    or that someone has deceived them into having problems caused dy drugs?

    I also have very mild tardive dyskinesia. I purse my lips involuntarily. It was horrifying when lip-pursing became culturally normalised by the selfie. And came as no comfort at all. But again, I expect you’d shrug your shoulders and dismiss it as attention-seeking or somesuch childish silliness. My gait is also permanently askewed. Often looks like I’m walking face-fowards into a gale-force wind. I’ve been ridiculed for this. I try and shut people up by claiming I was born with a congenital condition, curvature of the spine. Some seem appeased by this concoction and leave off. It would be better to live in less toxic world where the damages meted out to me were acknowledged for what they are.

    Again, I did not have these dyskinesia problems before the antipsychotic. But, I stress, they are relatively mild in me.

    It certainly isn’t something I want to hear or take some status from. How on earth would someone benefit from something that almost everyone refused to acknowledge?

    To be afflicted with akathisia, permanently, is crushing; it kicks in often, though not always, when I’m stressed. If I can get away from people, I can see it through. I have to kind of close myself down to contain it. If it kicks in and I can’t get away from people, I appear altogether deranged. When I first realised I had been damaged in this way, I was devastated. Because now I sometimes appear just like the stereotypical lunatic they originally claimed me as. I’m not upset that you are one of many of the camp that refuse to believe that antipsychotics can damage people in this way. You go the extra mile in your denial, and that’s what caught my eye. Your high-octane denial doesn’t upset me, because I can understand to some degree why you and others refuse it. And I don’t need you or others to accept it. I log it now as another of the many human cruelties, whether intended or not. It’s a cruel dismissal.

    What you’re suggesting is that tardive akathisia is regressive — ie a return to childish ways — and that I’ve been duped by professionals into believing that it’s a form of brain damage. Whereas in reality, in the culture in which I live, it’s taboo to talk of permanent brain damage, there is no-one so far as I know willing to diagnose it, and I haven’t sought a diagnosis for it. There isn’t anywhere to go, seemingly. So it happens, some people accept that… but, it happened to you? No, no, no. It doesn’t happen to people here, it happens to people elsewhere. It can’t possibly happen to people here, because we are here, and we dole out antipsychotics. It happens elsewhere, where other people dole out antipsychotics. You see… these defence mechanisms which you’ve been acquainting yourself with… I’ve been watching and noting them for nearly twenty years.

    Of course, I may be wrong. And it’s just a coincidence. I dont have tardive akathisia or dyskinesia. I’m just playing childish games. I have not learnt to control my emotions. The brain damage is no such thing. It’s a character-flaw. The poor gait that came after the antipsychotics was a conscious or unconscious act of defiance, or civil disobedience. I’m rebelling, and need to grow up.

    Of course, I know some people get off from taunting me. They also get off from denial. When I was being tortured by an antipsychotic, The Injector, as I came to refer to him, would grin and scoff away my protestations. I’ve forgiven him. It’s in my character to do that. And just recently, when my partner was taken into the psychiatric unit for a weekend, I discovered that The Injector’s daughter was working on the wing, and she came in to the television room, to have a gawp at me. I expect now she too is injecting people — for their own good, against their will. Following in her father’s footsteps. And she too will be away with the fairies when it comes to the subject of permanent brain damage…

    Whereas in fact, in terms of emotional control, as a consequence of being a psychiatric patient for so long, I’ve learnt to control my emotions to such a degree that these days I get accused of not having any. In fact, I was reminiscing recently and remembered that I did get offered therapy. And she came to visit me, and after a few minutes of talking — and I have realistic and understandable fears of mental health professinals — she said that she didn’t think she could help me? Why, I asked, perplexed. Because I work with emotions, and you… I need to work with emotions…

    Sometimes it can be a very lonely around people…

    When I allow my emotions with a mental health professional, I need to allow my remorse at how I’ve been permanently mangled by antipsychotics. And that is one of the several taboo conversations. And if that was allowed, and I was responded to, then it might open the doors to litigation. And I want to talk about how the system has unwittingly fed my paranoia. But again, that’s just me looking for a scapegoat and not taking personal responsibility. So what’s the effing point? There’s no treatment that can reverse all this. Nothing.

    So yes, I know all about these defence mechanisms that professionals like yourself deploy. Because of the kind of person I am, I often seek out excuses for people when they do this, perhaps more than I should, but to me it’s important not to become a bitter person, and be forgiving, and accepting of peoples’ motivations and weaknesses and flaws.

    So I have to keep schtum, and the difficult conversation isn’t permitted to happen.

    You then go on to write:

    “Isn’t it possible that they’ve also used pseudoscience to successfully manipulate many, as a way to advance their own popularity?”

    I would be interested in your pointing to where the diagnoses of tardive akathisia and tardive dyskinesia, and the others, have been compellingly refuted.

    “Maybe life was just tough before psych drugs and is still tough after. In any event, a theorist’s personal motivations, and the validity of their theory, are two separate issues.”

    I’ve re-read that a numer of times and I can’t understand you. It doesn’t run on well from what came before. I think what you are saying is, One does not have to practice what one preaches. Or, walking the walk and talking the talk are two different things and if one does one and not the other, there is no cause for critique or finger-pointing. Or words to that effect. My view is: it absolutely *is* essential that you don’t have a dirty face if you intend to pontificate upon the importanace of personal hygiene. On that and much else we’re probably going to have to agree to disagree.

    “As far as how hallucinations help people cope, first of all: Hallucinogens were very popular in the ’60s/’70s, and are still used by many to escape reality and create a better one. We all hallucinate every night, and are often disappointed upon awakening and realizing it was just a wish-fulfilling dream. Don’t we all have fantasies we daydream about? Little kids often converse with imaginary friends and toys that they “bring to life”. Couldn’t adults who have no one to talk with, cope with loneliness by also imagining companions? Since imagined experiences often involve exciting, prominent figures like the FBI, God, etc., this suggests that hallucinations can provide a way to feel important and powerful. When they’re self-denigrating, it could be done to project unacceptable thoughts about oneself onto others who now become responsible for those thoughts.”

    I’ve written much the same about dreams. Dreams being total hallucinations, ie. we are not conscious when they occur. I’ve underlined that so as to remind people that we all possess powerful mechanisms to subvert reality. Where we bifurcate is that you suggest that when this happens in waking life, it is indicative of childish thinking. And there are some influential poeple out there that have described this happening to them. For instance, Rufus May, who suggetsed it was his childish daydreaming, to transform a mundane life into a more thrilling one, that led him into psychosis. In other words, his psychosis was self-willed. I have no doubt that that happens, but it isn’t something many people can relate to. I certainly can’t. Whereas I think that whatever the unknown mechanism is that is able to construct whole realities when we sleep, that same mechanism must in some way be funtionally impaired in some people, causing them to unknowingly over-imagine waking life. It’s as good an explanation as any.

    “If people hear voices saying to kill someone, they similarly may be projecting their unacceptable urges onto others. You never hear of command auditory hallucinations saying to do community service!”

    Mother Theresa heard command hallucinations to sacrifice her life in the pursuit of helping orphans. Lots of people do have command hallucinations encouraging them to go forth in life and do good things, in a humble and quiet manner. And they go on to do just that.

    I kind of get where you are coming from. I’ve run into this kind of over-simplified thinking before. If you will, there is a school of thought in psychiatry that considers all mental illnesses to be personality disorders, and I consider your approach to fit neatly into that camp. Consequently I’m getting a better handle on your schtick. In my time as a psychiatric patient I have witnessed a number of people that would attract a label of personality disorder, or that have attracted one, deliberately mimicking the experiences and the appearance of people with schizophrenia and so on, in order that they are better treated, get access to more drugs, benefits, hospital stays and so on, and become, in time, quite skilled at it. When they finally tire of these games, they perform one final deception: the total recovery. Good for them, I say, but not so good for those they’ve been mimicking.

    “As far as my “psychiatrising”, I never pushed “diagnoses” or “mental health” on anyone. I always refuted the medical model and suggested that psychiatry’s labels and drugs are scams. The hospital I used to work in was more of a cushy retreat for people to get away from life’s stresses for awhile, until they could get back on their feet after going through a rough time in their life. It had no emergency room or forced commitment, and drugs were used sparingly. Staff was caring and always available to talk to, and there were many recreational/creative activities. I took my clients for long walks for sessions on its beautiful grounds. In my solo practice, I offer a place for clients to cope with feelings/issues by venting to an interested listener who treats them as equals with their own individual stories to tell. We often talk while going for a walk in the trails by my office. I don’t authoritatively tell them how to live life or proclaim myself to be an expert on anything. I may offer to try to interpret a dream now and then if they want. We seem to each enjoy the experience for what it is.”

    I don’t blame you. If someone offered me several hundred thousand dollars in a profession I fundamentally disagreed with, but could remain in, while rejecting all of its core principles, and its core treatments, and I could nonetheless go on as an authority figure, it’d be an understatement to suggest I’d be tempted. So fair play to you on that score. If only life allowed more people to do that. Although psychiatrists have long wiped their hands of me. I think, not in a bad way. They trust I’ll make it through, and would rather suffer than take the drugs.

    I agree that walking in nature is a great way to clear the mind. And I can appreciate why people enjoy those times with you. You have a lot to say that’s provoking of thought and self-reflection. Although it is also immature to be closed-minded, and to suggest you have an understanding of something which is almost entirely a mystery. I agree with you up to a point. A lot of peoples’ problems are characterological, and even if they aren’t, almost all of us would take some benefit from a good kick in the arse from time to time.

    But some people really do have problems of schizophrenia. They aren’t in it for the status (some fucking status!), they aren’t in it for the money (ie. poverty), and they aren’t in it as a way to make their lives more interesting, or at least, less dull, or even to escape from adult responsilities.

    Daniel Schreber is considered by many to have been the quintessential paranoid schizophrenic. He was a Judge. He had attained the top of his profession, was widely respected and considered a good and honourable man. Then psychosis fell upon him. He tries in his memoir to explain how convoluted and peculiar his experiences are. We all take our biases to a text, and find them there. You’d probably find a District Judge that believed his life to be dull and his station in life to be inadequate, and so day-dreamed himself into the lunatic asylum. I found in his book a man that was confused and bewildered by how he lost his mind, and badly wanted to return to his auspicious life.

  • From my perspective, last time I had what you might perceive of as a “hostile reaction” to one of your essays, I was drawing attention to you falling prey to the psychological defence mechanism of “rationalisation”. In that essay you were suggesting that people who believed themselves to be brain damaged with psychiatric drugs should simply get over themselves and stop playing into psychiatry’s hands. That is what lost you a lot of readers, I suspect. There are lots of people that read here that consider themselves to be permanently impaired by psychiatric drugging. I, for example, believe myself to be afflicted with tardive akathisia. Seems to me like my reposte has borne some fruit. Because here you are accusing everyone else of deploying all manner of defence mechanisms, including rationalisation.

    The plot thickens!

    I am predominantly ignored here. I think it would get to me if I wasn’t so used to it. It’s one of the many unfortunate consequences of being psychiatrised. But I asked you elsewhere, “How is an hallucination a coping style?” and it’s still hanging there, like the last fruit of autumn…

    Also, I have some questions and I would not like them to be seen as getting too personal. But as you have deployed some personal anecdote in this essay, now is a good time to raise an itch I need scratching.

    You write:

    “In the ‘80s, my fellow trainees and I knew Spitzer had created, out of thin air, diseases that anyone can meet criteria for. We saw how excited psychiatrists were about how the DSM improved their business. And that was pre-Prozac. I’ll never forget the first time a parent joyfully told me: “I now know why my son can’t pay attention — it’s because he has ADD.” I couldn’t believe they’d pulled it off. How clever it was to turn somatization around from a disorder into an adaptive coping tool.”

    Which begs the question: why did you go on with psychiatrising for another 32 years?

    Surely the intense deployment of psychological defence mechanisms was what carried you through?

    Honest answers might win some people back…

  • Most people I encounter these days seem much more sympathetic to the sufferings of schizophrenia than they did 20 years ago. Also I think after a while the word loses its hold over you. I think that is usually a result of a process of acceptance. As time passes, and stuff happens, you are more able to face up to the fact that you have a cluster of symptoms that get to be called schizophrenia. Resultingly, you are able to go a bit gentler on yourself, and come to terms with a variety of disadvantages that, even if it wasn’t given a noun, would nonetheless put you in a seriously disadvantaged position in life.

  • @ Greg Shankland

    “We are not serving people well if we are not helping them understand the experience and and to anticipate it to reduce the paranoia and fear that drive the need for care.

    We can reduce the number of potentially dangerous situations with education. If we can help people feel more in control of their experiences we will in time stop tagging them as dangerous.”

    I agree with you, in principle. In a society that accepts voice-hearing as just like any other human experience — there is a greater chance that those voices can be negotiated, and that any delusional narrative that often arises from the experience can itself be addressed before it takes an absolute hold on a person.

    However, I’m also realistic. A life is often messy, chaotic and unpindownable. People have all manner of groups to attend to work through their difficulties: AA and codependency support groups. These are for people that have recognised they have a problem and seek out others.

    But who seeks out help for a problem that they do not recognise as a problem? How many alcoholics attended AA before they had a problem? How many codependent people attended codependency support groups before their tendency towards codependency became a problem?

    Some people who hears voices never consider it to be a problem, ever, at any point in their life. Must we demand that they do, just in case? What I mean is, how do we avoid further stigmatising voices if we suggest that everyone who hears them has a potential problem, and must thus stand forward and be counted, just in case?

    Delusional thinking can overwhelm very rapidly. So yes, I agree that a culture that is more open to such experiences would be a better one for many people, I don’t think that openness alone is the answer.

  • @ slaying

    “A real disease is made up of scientifically observable biological and physical phenomena such as a cancer or a virus.”

    To do that you need scientific instruments capable of conducting an observation at that functional level.

    There is currently no scientific technology anywhere near able to conduct an observation of brain functions, let alone the scientific knowledge-base of how the brain functions.

    But here you are dogmatically pre-empting the future of science.

    I agree with you that it’s wrong to arrogantly claim that known unknowns are actually known knowns and then dupe people with crap about chemical imbalances.

    However, given the complexities here, you read like someone that is more interested in revenge against psychiatry, rather than being openminded.

    Mental illness, such as it is, is something inferred. If you think that the human brain, unlike every other organ in the body, is incapable of functional problems, then I respect your faith (even if I also find it alarming and denialist), but I do not join with you in calling off the scientific investigation or claiming that all the inferred evidence of functional disorder is wrong and does not cause tremendous suffering and disablement.

  • @ rachel

    I think you have a problem in the usa, and I have no suggestions about how you can solve it

    there are influential people on MIA that believe you have a constitutional right to bear arms and shoot bullets into people, for personal protection

    these same people are against society bearing arms (brain drugs) and putting them into people’s bodies as a form of societal-protection

    locate the hypocrisy and that is usually where you’ll find the beginning of a solution

    peter breggin’s book helped me steel my resolve to get off antipsychotics and stay off them. like many people I am deeply indebted to him

    however, human all too human, and his recent provocations about spree killings and psych drugs is actually compoiunding stigma, as I’ve explained above

    its also a way for gun lovers to bury their head in the sand

    “But drugs do not work at moral rehabilitation of bad people.”

    I think they can help the process, for some people some of the time. the secure hospitals in the uk such as broadmoor do have successes with intense drug/therapy treatments and help people that have committed some horrendous crimes to attain stability and go back into the world and not be posing a risk, most of the time

  • @ Fiachra

    what I’m harking on is how the primary source of stigma is never addressed. the primary source of stigma is the psychokiller. so if we swap out nouns and try and hey presto! stigma away, it’s disingenuous.

    ive lost count of the number of calls for noun-change, for signing petitions, and blaming all the stigma squarely and only on the noun, and a lot of the time, its all the same faces, all over again, and I have to ask myself, are these people actually all that committed to this problem, or is this just another round of golf, or just some public relations exercise to keep certain faces relevant and right-on

    the psychokiller and the nonviolent person are assigned the same ssignifier

    whether that is scizophrenia or hearing voices or psychosis zx spectrum disorder or adjustment disorder or whatever

    so long as the killer and the nonkiller are assigned the same nouns, the stigma will go on, regardless of any effeorts to persuade people way from the brutal realities of life

    so one day you can have say jacqui dillon — who is genuinely a nice person — talking about hearing voices and how she adapted to the experience, and the next youll have the psychokiller voice hearer headlining in the press

    and given that jacqui dillon’s voices are central to her success and her popularity, and that the psychokillers voices are central to their killing and their notoriety

    how do you prevent the one from stigmatiising the other in the public imagination

    I dont slaim to have the answers

    but a willingness to address difficult issues like these might lead us to solutions

    but such considerations are censored by the anti-stigma initiatives

  • I reported my reply because I got the wrong end of the stick. I apologise for getting the wrong end of the stick originally and, if my next reply to you does get through, please dismiss that too.

    “You seem like an intelligent person who has suffered great trauma, the best of luck to you.”

    I am a mildy intelligent person but thanks for the compliment. I haven’t suffered great trauma, as such. I’ve had some very painful life experiences and maybe not the best of childhoods, or adulthoods for that matter, but I don’t identify as traumatised, it would be wrong too, as, for me, I set the bar quite high on that one, and I’m way under it.

    I did dally with the idea of identifying as a traumatised person, and even dabbled with the idea of claiming that I heard voices. This only persisted for about a month. I had to stop. I was desperate to find some way out of my horrid existence, and thought that I spotted a potential opening, but I don’t have the wherewithal of a Tania Head, and couldn’t keep it going. I don’t resent the fact that all the best openings seem to be for people that hear voices and have a trauma story, but I do think it is an awful shame that, to coin the book title, there is no place in the world for me. I think I have something to offer. But — and I think mania and paranoia plays a large part in this — I tend to fuck everything up. I despair of all this, but again, I think I’m too honest for my own good, and people, in the mental health world at least, don’t seem to warm much to my style of writing, except maybe, as a bit of a side-show entertainment.

    I did a lot of work trying to get my head back after the torture-by-injection. Took two or three years to read a novel again. Novels were once my greatest love in life. I find reading novels exceptionally difficult now, but thankfully read and digested a great deal before sustaining the damage. But my problems have simply never ended. Seem unresolveable. I’ve always been open to therapy, but have never offered any.

    I think again I may have told the internet that I had had therapy and that it helped me, in the pathetic hope that some therapist would approach me and offer more. Well, I had something therapy-like once, with an undergraduate, who I thought was a therapist. Now my understanding was that I was being audited as part of a nationwide project to audit all the mad people. He wanted to know how often I masturbated. I told him 3.5 times a week, on average. He asked about the “.5”? That’s the mid-week wank, I told him. It would be self-indulgent to have a full one mid-week.

    Being tortured with forced injections was a harrowing experience, but not, for me, traumatic. In that, I don’t suffer nightmares about it, and it only affected my life in the sense of semi-permanently affecting my intellect, inducing stress-related permanent tardive akathisia and stunting my intellectual growth.

    Funny you should claim to have been distressed by mania. I accept that yes it can be distressing for other people. I’m most likely off to the stars again as I write. This one being long in the making. Problem with this one is that, despite the overall clarity of thought, sleep is impossible (I’m managing about 1-3 hours per night), I am becoming very, very agitated, and so, I think, the best thing to do, is get away, far away from people, into the mountains again, and see what happens next.

    But thanks all the same and I appreciate you putting me right.

  • @ oldhead

    Your tenacity astounds me. And I happily concede the game to you, sir. Not because I don’t want to play chess, but simply because if you refuse the rules of chess (a metaphor for the rules of language) then I’m not actually abandoning a game of chess, you are refusing to play one in the first place!

    Touche!

  • – What’s wrong?
    – I encountered a man.
    – Where?
    – At the dark spring of stigma.
    – We told you never to go there.
    – I lost my way a little. I stumbled upon him.
    – Didn’t we tell you to take care?
    – I’m sorry. I’m sorry, it’s just that-
    – Did you communicate with him?
    – Well…
    – Did you?
    – Yes. Yes I did.
    – We have told you about the forbidden people. Have we not?
    – Yes.
    – And the forbidden places?
    – Yes.
    – This is serious. You must never go there. Stay here, in the distant hills of abstract thought, amongst your comrades, the tremulous warriors aginst stigma.
    – I’m sorry… I’m sorry, it’s just that-
    – He’s confused you, hasn’t he? Did you gaze upon it?
    – Yes I did. I did! And it’s nothing like you told me. It’s nothing like it at all. I can’t put it into words. I can’t 1-10 it. I can’t get it out of my mind.
    – You’re back now. And you’re safe. You’re safe here with us, your brothers and sisters, the tremulous warriors against stigma.
    – I wished I’d never been there. I wished I’d never communicated with that man. My head, my head it’s-
    – Listen. The rules are simple. Never venture close to the dark spring of stigma. Never gaze upon it. Never think about it. And if you encounter that man, ignore him.
    – But how will I know him? He has so many faces… he face was changing as he spoke.
    – You will know him because he has no suffix or prefix to his name. His thoughts and considerations are thus a debasement, an irrelevance.
    – But he said he was one of our stock, that we tend to, and control. And feed from.
    – He claimed to be an “expert-by-experience”?
    – Yes!
    – The audacity!
    – And he said that many of his words are now on your lips. That many of your words came from him-
    – Lies! Deceit! Filth! He has no suffix. He has no prefix. We have given him no status. We have given him nothing. He is nothing! Nothing!
    – I’m so sorry-
    – What did he say? You must tell us? We will assimilate his discourse. We will make it ours. That way we will vanish him. Vanish him!

  • “You seem like an intelligent person.”

    Is that really necessary?

    Anyway, what I am, if anything, is humble, and I apologise for not being explicit about my objection to you or anyone deploying the word distress as a universal signifier for all mental strife and extremes.

    If you or anyone denotes euphoric mania as distressing you annihilate it’s beauty. It’s as simple as that. You are imposing a negativity on something which goes beyond pleasure, goes beyond all reasonable expectations of bliss.

    And yes you do have the power to deploy words as you wish. And in doing so you can unwittingly trample over the fullness of subjective experience, and, perhaps, through joining in with the idle cultural repetition of cliche, you encourage others to do the same.

    That is my objection. And that is all.

  • Fiachra May 29, 2018 at 5:37 am
    “Schizophrenic” Risk Representation,

    What I would be interested in, would be the back ground to the event.

    ———–

    I get you. From one extreme to ther other. From the drugs had no involvement in this to the drugs are entirely involved in this. So, say, before the advent of neuroleptics, there are no crazed psychokillers in the historical record?

    Don’t get me wrong. I have first-hand knowledge of the rage reaction that can be be induced by antipsychotics. Shortly after commencing Abilify, I was strolling through a highstreet, and suddenly, out of nowhere, a red mist came down upon me, and I was uncharacteristically wanting to throttle a random passerby. It was disturbingly bad. So I hurried myself to a callbox. Explained to a professional what was happening. Stop taking it, they said. Stop taking it now. Get away from people. And I took their advice. Sage and straightforward as it was. And within a few days I was back to my normal, nonviolent, fear-fucked self.

    So yes, that’s one way the narrative needs to change. We need to be including in all our investigations after the fact, an honest look at the possibility that it was the drugs wot done it. But we mustn’t be carried away with antipsychiatry zeal, and try and create a culture in which it was only the drugs wot done it, that psychokillers are manufactured purely and only by psychiatry, because that is simply not true at all.

    That’s one possible way ahead to fight against stigma. To nurture a cultural change in which people are properly warned. So, perhaps, more often, like me, and others like me, they are able to nip the rage reaction in the bud, that they are properly warned and properly supported. And the public too are properly informed.

    But here again this dark spring of stigma just won’t stop flowing. Because assuming the above proposals theoretically made ground, we now have a public that is informed that everyone taking drug treatment for schizophrenia/psychosis/hearing voices or wotnot is a potential psychokiller because of the drug treatment itself, and we’re back to square one, and running back to the hills again to regroup, apply for grants, do a bit of abstract painting, and 1-10 all that is unknown in the world of mentalness into deluded submission.

  • And so before and yet again, here we are afore the dark spring of stigma, a solemn place few dare speak of, or hold their gaze upon, and I dare speak, and someone passing rapidly in the distance dare answers, and I look around me, and there’s no-one there’s no-one, they’ve retreated to the distant hills to regather with the tremulous warriors against stigma, who prefer to talk about alternative nouns, and like to spend their time quanitifying things from 1-10, and applying for grants that enable them to remain in the hills, and some of them have a talent for abstract painting, and others enjoy talking about these abstractions, and writing about their throughts, but never wishing to be afore the actual thing itself, that dark spring of stigma, because they can’t 1-10 it, they can’t rename it and make it go away, because it’s unsettling and brutal and difficult and life is better here, far away in the distant hills.

  • Hey Rachel. No problems with you aligning with antipsychiatry if you find the answers in it that you seek. For many people it’s a stage they need to pass through in order to take back control of their life. I’m more of an antibullshit type. Of course there is a lot of bullshit in psychiatry. There is also a lot of bullshit in antipsychiatry.

    I’m not ashamed of being mentally disabled. I’d rather I wasn’t but that’s pretty normal. I didn’t choose to be this way. Did any of us?

    You have to be careful with anger though. It is a very consuming emotion and can cloud the judgement.

  • Here’s a random case in point. There are hundreds more just like it. Doesn’t matter so much if it’s a “quality” newspaper, or a rag. The journalists are reporting established facts.

    Let’s take a closer look at one example:

    A MUM-of-two was killed by a schizophrenic knifeman trying to abduct her kids, while her husband listened helplessly over the phone, a court has heard.

    “Defenceless Nicola Cross, 37, was stabbed to death by complete stranger Marcin Porczynski, who had smashed his way into the property in Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, on September 14, 2015.”

    […]

    “The Polish national was suffering from paranoid schizophrenia at the time and had been hearing voices telling him to “free” children or risk harm to his own family.”

    So, maybe him being Polish was much of a muchness, and the story didn’t require his nationality.

    But he was clearly in psychosis at the time of the murder. He heard voices telling him to kill children. And he believed in some convoluted way that this act was righteous and necessary.

    Now please, respectfully, how should a journalist go about reporting on such a crime? You seem to be suggesting that his delusion, his psychosis was irrelevant. When really, in the moment, hearing the voices and the delusions he’d built up were central to his act of murder. Are you suggesting that these central, key elements are irrelevant?

  • Well, if you can work out some way to inform journalists how to approach a story about someone with schizophrenia/psychosis who in the midst of schizophrenia/psychosis heard voices telling them to kill people, and then went on to kill people, how they should frame their story without mentioning all those details, then I’m with you.

    There are also plenty of examples of psychotic killers that were non-violent until the psychoses kicked in.

    Problem remains that some people with schizophrenia/psychosis/hearing voices kill people and the stigma for their crimes is endured by everyone else.

  • The only possible solution I can think of is to have a label specifically for people that kill during psychosis. I know it’s never going to happen, but I can’t think of any other way around it. By compartmentalising the psychotic killer from everyone else, everyone else is not tarnished by their crimes.

    The press can then go on with their reporting, the public can then go on with their fear, and the majority of people suffering or conquering psychosis can go about their days without needless stigmatisation.

    This issue is mostly brushed under the carpet. And yet it’s probably one of the most burning issues in this area.